Greenwich, CT, known for its affluence and proximity to New York City, is only 38 minutes by express train to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. Greenwich has been the home of, or birthplace to, many well-known people, including David Letterman, Martha Stewart, Meryl Streep and Paul Newman. Yet, despite being known for its prosperity, Greenwich has long had a rich green history. The town began recycling in the fall of 1970, when a can collection was organized. The first drop-off center for recyclables was established in April 1971. In January 2008, an Environmental Action Task Force was established. The mission of the task force was “to establish Greenwich as a leader in environmental awareness, to take the lead on key issues, and to recommend policy to the Board of Selectmen to make all Town government operations environmentally sustainable.” The group identified seven issues to address within Greenwich:
- Artificial turf: Potential health, environmental and financial concerns relating to the choice between artificial and natural grass. According to The New York Times, in 2006, 850 synthetic turf fields were installed in the U.S. Industry sources estimate there were at least 30 in Connecticut as of 2006. Greenwich High School, one of the largest in the state, installed four new turf fields in 2004 and 2005.
- Cleaning products: Concerns about citizens’ health relating to the unnecessary exposure to harmful chemicals. The task force also has concerns about the damaging effects of hazardous chemicals in the waste stream.
- Energy conservation: Improve energy usage and reduce Greenwich’s carbon footprint.
- Green buildings
- Pesticides: Compelling data now points to significant human health risk, particularly in children, and to growing environmental contamination associated with pesticide use.
- Public transportation/busing: Work to decrease the use of cars to bring children to and from school to lessen the environmental impact, traffic congestion, accidents and a variety of less obvious costs such as road maintenance, traffic officers, engineering and construction of student drop-off/pick-up spot.
- Recycling: Recommit to increasing recycling and reducing solid waste through a comprehensive program.